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Aquaculture bill could provide industry certainty

NEW ZEALAND - Nationals Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley, has this week placed a Members Bill in the ballot that would provide an improved legislative framework for the aquaculture industry.

Aquaculture bill could provide industry certainty - NEW ZEALAND - Nationals Fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley, has this week placed a Members Bill in the ballot that would provide an improved legislative framework for the aquaculture industry.

The Resource Management (Aquaculture) Amendment Bill would ensure certainty for investors, encouragement for ongoing research and incentives so that the industry reaches its potential, says Mr Heatley.

Labours flawed aquaculture legislation has resulted in a cumbersome set of regulations that few are satisfied with. More than one-and-a-half years after it was passed into law, not a single new Aquaculture Management Area (AMA) has been created.

Regional councils, who had high hopes for the legislation, have downed their tools because they have no incentive or direction to set up AMAs.

Marine farmers can undertake a private plan change, but the bureaucracy and costs are insurmountable, with any positive result only coming many years down the track. With our natural resources, clean water and business smarts, New Zealand should aim to be harnessing the full potential of our aquaculture industry.

Parliament needs to help the industry, not hinder it, and give investors the confidence to invest and develop. It is absurd that people with the initiative to trial new species in new areas or with new technology have to go through an arduous, time-consuming and expensive private plan change to do so.

My Bill would allow for aquaculture research to occur outside AMAs, as a discretionary activity, as long as the research is confined to less than two hectares and is in association with a recognised research programme.

Investors will have no confidence in aquaculture if they invest in the water, in the processing plant and in the market, then some fly-by-nighter is granted the space they are sitting on when permits come up for renewal. The current legislation has additional criteria that incumbents must meet to resecure their permits. This produces uncertainty and stifles investment.

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